Friday, 16 September 2016

Swish: Vogue 1466 Donna Karan Skirt

Swish: that's the word I want when I think of this skirt:

No, not the posh, stuck up sort of "swish":


The other kind - the movement kind of "swish"!

I wore this skirt to work the other day for a trial run and if felt amazing, the fabric echoing the movement of my legs as I walked or swayed (just to get some more of that swish).

Just soooo swishy... and cosy too!

Although it feels amazing on, there is one problem with the way I've made this skirt, and it's at waist level.

I really don't know why I do this, but when I measure myself before cutting out, very often I will stick my stomach out. Crazy! And I don't realise I've done it till I sew up the garment and discover everything fits except the waist, which is too big.  So I cut this skirt out as a size 14 with a size 16 waist - and should have stuck with the straight size 14.

I'd like to think it's not as glaring an error as it appears in these photos - but even if it is, well I have to admit I wear RTW with bigger fit issues!

It's also a tad shorter than I'd like... I would have loved an extra 5 or so centimetres of length to get to midi length, but I simply didn't have the yardage - from recollection I had 1.5 metres bought for a top for my son*, and the pattern pieces looked to fit IF I trimmed the skirt length by a centimetre or so.

* his polite response along the lines of "thanks, but you don't have to mum" meant "I don't like it"

But the hips fit nicely, so there is that:

And it's a really easy skirt to sew!

I did make one addition to the pattern: I added a lining to the skirt, simply using the flared skirt pattern pieces cut a few centimetres shorter: 

The lining fabric is a soft sort of mesh, which I really like as a lining for knit skirts and dresses (like this one).  It doesn't add much in the way of bulk but it stops the bumps of underwear lines from showing and makes the skirt feel more upmarket than its unlined cousin. Oh and no need for hems or seam finishes, as it doesn't seem to unravel!

As you can see, I didn't finish the seams on my outer fabric either - that also doesn't ravel :). The outer fabric is from Tessuti Fabrics, I think a cotton elastane mix. It's a really lovely weight in a skirt like this - not too heavy, not too flimsy. The colour hasn't come out correctly in these photos though (that bright winter sunshine!); it's a khaki rather than a brown, and goes really well with the Donna Karan drape jacket I showed you about a month ago (blogged here).

Basically it's a great pattern, lovely fabric and a user error or two combining to make a skirt I love :). So many photos, and so little to say!!


Pattern: Vogue 1466 (skirt), Donna Karan

Fabric: cotton-elastane, mesh lining from Tessuti Fabrics

Notions: elastic, hidden within the waistband

Final verdict? This skirt is going to get a LOT of wear. The pattern is a really good one - I'm considering making the skirt again, and I've already got the jacket cut out from some gorgeous dark blue boiled wool from Tessuti Fabrics.  I wish Donna Karan was still designing and doing patterns!

My next post is probably not going to be for a few weeks - but I hope then to be able to share some swimmers with you. I've had an orphan bikini top for years, and have FINALLY got around to sewing bikini bottoms to go with it using the ruched, high waisted bikini bottoms from McCalls 7168.  So far they seem a bit tight but we'll see...

Happy sewing!

- Gabrielle xx

Saturday, 3 September 2016

Linen Crush (Tessuti Chloe Pants + Vogue 8877 Top)

The crushing and wanting started with this image, which I saw on Tessuti Fabrics' Instagram feed.  I didn't save the image anywhere but in my memory, and as it happens, my memory then turned the outfit upside down - loose blue linen top became loose white linen top, and white shorts became blue pants (details, details!).  I already had a beautiful blue linen in my stash, bought from Tessuti fabrics a few years ago just because it was the perfect blue for something, and when the perfect pants pattern came into my possession while the outfit was still cause for obsession the ball really got rolling.  A top pattern quickly followed suit (tick!), along with a heavy white linen from an after work dash to The Fabric Shop.

And here's where I ended up:

My outfit isn't at all like the original inspiration image, and I'm at least twice the age of the girl in the original image, but this look is precisely what I wanted. The photos may or may not be in agreement - but this is my sweet spot :).

A simple pants shape, slim fitting through the hips and neither flared nor skinny, and an oversized top, loose through the bust and more fitted at the hips and lower arms. Not at all what like the original image, I know!

The pants pattern I used is the Chloe pants pattern by Tessuti patterns, which my mum was ditching because she thought the legs looked too wide for her height. The legs look to be very slightly tapered but there is still some fabric flapping around (not something I mind at all).  Normally these pants would be a proper long length on me, even with hemming (and I'm about 5'8" with fairly long legs) but I took them up about 5 centimetres to get the above-ankle length I was after, including a generous hem.  I'm thinking this length will be good for walking and doing stuff in summer - at this length there's zero risk of my tripping on my own hems.

I've sewn these up in a straight size 12, and amazingly the fit seems pretty good as is.  Second time around I could possibly remove a small wedge from the front crotch curve and maybe add that length to the back crotch curve, but the pants are really comfortable so I'll see how they feel after a few wears before I draw any fit conclusions.

There is one small annoyance with these pants: I had the choice of a darker blue (much darker than the fabric) or white invisible zip for the side seam, and as you can see I chose unwisely.  It isn't really a big deal for me - I'm planning to wear these pants with loose tops to about the length of this white top - but I do wonder if there's a way of neatly colouring in the visible white of the zip?

Anyway, regardless, I really like how streamlined these pants look.

Next time: review the fit after wear, and then make any necessary adjustments to the crotch curve; consider adding pockets on the backside (I was fumbling for pockets when I wore the pants to take photos); try them as shorts; and definitely make them again!

The top pattern is Vogue 8877, a "very easy" pattern (and yes, it is) in the size Medium (12-14).  I sewed this top (blog post here) before with short sleeves in a jersey, and it does work in a stretch fabric but it's really intended for wovens.

The top is described as a loose-fitting pullover top, but if you're busty I think you would need to seriously modify the bust seam, as the angled, dropped shoulder line takes away some of the ease you would get in the bust area IF you had a regular shoulder and sleeve. Oh and I didn't notice those dropped shoulders when I wore my earlier top, but I can really feel them on this top, and can feel if the top has wiggled to one side - so the shoulders are obviously another fitting area to watch out for.

My only adjustments to this pattern were to take the neckline in slightly on both sides and to remove some of the length in the bodice.  My adjusted neckline is now less "boat" and a little bit "square", but I think this smaller width is more proportionate to my shoulders while still fitting over my head. For the top length I had a very specific finishing length and hem depth in mind, so I did a lot of trying on and pinning and pressing in place and then cut away what turned out to be an excess of a couple of centimetres of length.

I don't think it's very noticeable in the bright sunlight (yay, Spring sunshine!) but the fabric has a damask sort of floral pattern woven into it.  I think it's pretty, but I do hope I haven't accidentally sewn myself a tablecloth top!  Hmm... more research is required here...

I added a cotton bias binding tag in the back neckline to help quickly identify back from front without the itch factor of a normal garment tag - this is one of those garments whose front and back are extremely similar, so it's actually very helpful, and I'm wishing I'd thought of it in time for the pants too.


The one problem I think I'll have with this top is finding jumpers or jackets to go over it - check out the width of those sleeves!  One obvious solution is to use the pattern again to sew a long-sleeved wool top - or would that be a bit much?  I've got some nice thick merino lined up for the job if I don't come up with a better idea.

Next time: sew again in a heavy knit fabric to make a jumper that will layer over this top and the many other dolman sleeved dresses and tops in my wardrobe - yay!

So all up I am a very happy camper right now.  I've got two garments I love, and they've got my imagination fired up with lots more ideas too...

Happy sewing!

See you soon

- Gabrielle xx

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